Tuesday, April 15, 2014

5 Tips for Paddling a SUP Prone Upwind

Need to get upwind?  Every one's so busy downwinding they rarely think about getting upwind until they need to.  Many of the downwinders here in the Pacific NW reverse direction forcing paddlers to either slog it out to the the finish upwind, or downwind it back to their starting point.

In my basic classes, the first thing I teach is how to paddle upwind by sitting or prone paddling. Then we work on standing up.  Someone once told me 'be a man, stand up.'  That only works sometimes, in others you'll be much less of a man when you end up on the news after you got blown far from your car.

Prone paddling is the most efficient way get upwind in heavy wind.  You might try paddling upwind in 15 plus knots standing, kneeling, sitting, then prone.  See which one works best.  Prone can be tiring if you're not used to it.  Ever see traditional surfers paddling prone on flat days?  They're training for getting caught inside, in a rip or for paddling in cross or head winds.

5 Tips for Paddling Prone with a SUP:

1. Try paddling your sup a mile or so prone.  If your neck is sore from being in the cobra position (prone - top of back raised up, knock/head back and hands in water) then stick a PFD, chunk of foam or similar under your upper chest for support.

2. If your board is too wide to get your hands in the water, move towards the nose where the board narrows for better reach.

3. Place the power face of your paddle down on the board under your chest. The shaft/handle will stick out over the nose suspended above the deck.  (power face is curved side of blade face).

4. In waves you may want to slide back to prevent being covered in oncoming water. Downside of this is that the wind may catch the raised nose.

5. Use an alternating arm stroke and close your fingers to get the most out of strokes.

Here, PNW paddler Art Aquino paddles prone upwind in approx 30kts of wind on Puget Sound.

Monday, March 31, 2014

SUP Business Consultant - Starting a Biz?

Thinking of starting a SUP business?  I can help.  

Recently I convinced two paddlers who are starting SUP businesses to not buy a trailer.  Both were in the process of buying a trailer to carry boards before having a business license, a location to teach at, and any customers.  My thinking - I can carry 10 boards on my Subaru Forester rack and would rather spend my money on marketing, branding and getting new customers.  If successful and I need more boards, then I'll consider a trailer if it makes sense.

Long story.. if you're starting a SUP business, or thinking of it, I can help. As an SUP guidebook author, paddle sports industry magazine writer, SUP instructor since 2010 (kayak instructor since much earlier) and founder/co-director of the PSUPA I'm in touch with SUP (and kayak) businesses everywhere and have in the short time SUP has been around, seen many go under.

I'll give you your first ten minutes free, but I do charge for consulting with businesses and individuals as phone time can take one to several hours of time.  But I'll follow up with a summary of what we discussed and additional resources to help you along.

Common Questions:
- Do I need a trailer?
- Should I do an LLC, sole proprietorship or?
- What to put on my business card?
- How do I choose my business name?
- How do I choose and find my website url? Lessons learned - how to avoid this: www.psupa.org
- What about insurance?
- I want to start a SUP rental biz - Where do I do it, how to set it up?
- SUP Yoga is hot, I love yoga but am not a certified trainer, can I teach it?
- Where do I find boards, paddles and other gear?
- Type 3 vest PFDs vs inflatable? Inflatable boards vs hard/epoxy?
- Any tips for starting a SUP rental business?
- Should my staff be certified?

Cheers.. Rob

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

GoPro Paddle Mounting Tips from Pro Naish SUP Surfer Kai Lenny

Check out this useful video from GoPro featuring SUP pro Naish surfer Kai Lenny talking about GoPro paddle mounting tips. A lot of friends mount their GoPros this way for fun overhead shots of surfing and other activities SUP'ing..

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tying a Paddle Board (SUP) to Your Car

How to video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Sp90k_gY0g

There's several ways to tie a board to your car.  In this video I'm showing how to tie a single surf style board to a car using cam straps.  In future videos I'll cover how to tie down race boards, multiple boards, using different types of straps and ropes.

My Set-up:
I have Yakima racks as I prefer the round bars because my pads roll when I push a SUP or kayak on from the rear.  As an instructor, I load anywhere from one to 8 boards on my racks depending on the class size.  The cross bars allow me to load a variety of boards, both displacement and surf style, and on occasion mixing in kayaks too. For large loads of 8 boards, I have 68' wide bars - no wider than my side mirrors. I have two stacks of 4 boards, each secured separately. Some ask why I don't have a trailer. I teach a lot in public places so I don't want to have to park it, back it up or store it at home.  The Subaru works for me.

Pads for the Rack:
- Pipe insulation tubes are super cheap and effective.  Secure every 1 food with electrical tape.
- Surfboard pads which wrap around the bars work well.
- Some SUP board traction pads are good enough against the bars.

Which Way to Place Board?
- Nose forward. I see it as wind similar to water flowing past the nose may be more efficient?
- I put my fins down over the windshield otherwise the board rocker prevents me from getting in the back hatch.  Or remove fins, but either way, deck up is easier - for me.
- If I do go fin up, it's because I'm stacking boards with multiple fins, offsetting each.
- The cool surfer way is fins up and forward. The idea being if the straps are loose, your fins will catch the strap.  My thinking - don't have loose straps.
- If going on a long drive, I'll push the nose of my board back where the roof meets the windshield for  wind resistance.  If so, I'll put a red flag on the end.

Cam Straps
I use cam straps from two companies, Seattle Sports and Mile22.  Those pictured in this video are from Seattle Sports.  I prefer straps with a rough texture to the fabric so the buckle clamps more securely.  Sometimes but not often, the metal buckles slide, so in the detail clip at the end of the video, you can see that I'm tying an addition knot at the buckle in case of failure.

Mile 22's straps are 2" wide and have a plastic buckle that doesn't ding my board or car when I throw it over.  I use these straps for big loads, 3 or more boards.

Ropes are fine if you use climbing rope or similar thickness.  Learn the trucker's hitch to secure them down then do an additional knot to prevent slippage. My shipwright friends can tie their boards down with one long rope.

A Few Tips:
- Do a shake test of your rack system before putting boards on.  Shake vigorously.
- Put straps on first, then boards.
- Make sure no one is on the other side of the car when you throw the straps over. Ouch!
- If windy, bunch the strap to hurl it over.  Also secure one side to prevent board from flying off if you're not ready to do both - are just hanging out, or doing other tasks.
- Twist the straps if in open air sections or on a concave deck, otherwise it'll buzz on the road.
- Always do a shake test before leaving. Push/Shake both the sides and tail/nose.
- After a few miles, do another shake test. Twisted straps can stretch on the road.
- End ties?  Maybe for displacement boards 14' or longer. But two middle straps should do it.
- If your buddy is in the process of tying down a board, ask how they want it done. Everyone's way is he right way. Seen a few quarrels here.

Thanks for reading!

Fins up, and offset

2 sets of four, long bars

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Learn About the Parts of a SUP Paddle

Here's the first of a series of technique and gear video I'm working on.

You'll learn about:
- The parts of the paddle.
- Adjustable paddles.
- Paddle blade widths.

You'll be surprised how many people I come across who don't know which way the paddle faces in the water.  Hopefully this helps make sense of things..

Upcoming Videos:
- Lifejackets for SUP.
- How to use a Type 5 Inflatable PFD.
- Sizing a paddle - issues of a paddle to short or too long.
- Paddling out in surf.

Thanks for watching!